Blog Post

Wage Growth Conundrum

Stocks recovered as tensions subsided between the U.S. and Iran.  The spike in gold and oil prices also reversed.

The U.S. continues to create a good number of jobs each month with the decade of the 2010s beating all other decades going back to the 1940s.  This follows a negative decade of the 2000s.  Despite record low unemployment, wage growth remains very tame and has been moving lower, puzzling many economists.  2019 ended the year with women making up slightly more than half the workforce, the first time since 2010.

The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 1.819%.  Crude oil fell to $59.15 a barrel.  The U.S. dollar rose against a basket of currencies and gold prices rose to $1561.50 an ounce.

In economic numbers this week:

  • The Commerce department reported that the U.S. Trade deficit fell 8.2% in November from the prior month.  Imports were down due to lower capital goods imports.  Exports rose, primarily consumer goods and capital goods such as oil field equipment and automobiles.
  • China reported consumer prices were up 2.9% in December from a year earlier, the highest since 2011.  A 43% rise in pork prices, China’s main meat source, was attributed to the rise.
  • The Eurozone reported the 28 nation seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate of 6.3% in November, unchanged from October and down from 6.6% in November of 2018.  This is the lowest unemployment since the 28 nation statistics started in 2000.
  • The Labor Department reported
    • First time claims for unemployment fell 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 214,000.  The four week moving average of claims fell to 224,000.
    • The U.S. created a net 145,000 jobs in December.
    • The unemployment rate held steady at a 50 year low of 3.5%.
    • For calendar year 2019, wages grew 2.9%, down from 3.1% at the end of November.
  • The EIA weekly oil report is here wpsrsummary (13).  Also, the EIA reported in the past week:
    • Field production of crude oil was unchanged at 12.9MM barrels per day.
    • Natural gas storage fell by 44BN cubic feet and is slightly above the five year average at this time of year.
  • Baker Hughes reported the number of active oil rigs fell 11 to 659 and the number of active gas rigs fell 4 to 119.

Please call us if you have any questions.

Loren C. Rex, CFP®, AIF®, MA                                                       Erik A Smith AIF®

President                                                                                               Managing Partner

Generations Financial Planning & Wealth Management            269-441-4143

77 E. Michigan Ave, Suite 140

Battle Creek, MI  49017

Tel 269-441-4090

Carrie Fuce, Assistant 269-441-4091

Toll Free: 800-513-8180

Fax 866-381-2301

Visit our Website:

Registered Representative of and securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC.  Investment Advisor Representative, Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor.  Cambridge and Generations Financial Planning & Wealth Management are separate companies and are not affiliated.

These are the opinions of Loren Rex and Erik Smith and are not necessarily those of Cambridge, are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed or acted upon as individualized investment advice.  The Indices mentioned are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.


If you are serious about planning for your future, we want to meet with you. We ask that you provide us with some basic information so we can assess your needs and schedule a meeting. Please follow the link below to complete our survey.